Repowering At Altamont Pass
Salka LLC, a San Diego-based renewable energy company, has signed a purchase and sale agreement for the Summit Wind Project, a 55 MW wind farm under development in the east San Francisco Bay area.
The agreement was signed with Castlelake LP, a global private investment firm, on behalf of the funds it manages. The project will repower a former Altamont Pass wind farm by replacing 569 100 kW turbines with 27 more modern turbines. The wind farm will be located 35 miles outside of Oakland and 45 miles outside of San Francisco.
“Repowering the Altamont Pass wind farm will have a profound impact on the Alameda County economy,” says Jiddu Tapia, CEO of Salka. “Not only will the redevelopment process create local jobs, but the energy produced at the site will provide an affordable, dependable way for the east San Francisco Bay area to meet its expanding power needs for generations to come.”
The Summit repowering project received its conditional use permit in January 2016 and broke ground in December 2016. Completion and operation are planned for late 2017 or early 2018.
Repowering the wind farm will create approximately 100 jobs and produce enough clean energy, on average, to power about 29,000 homes per year, says Salka, which notes that the project is the company’s first wind farm sale.
The transaction is expected to close this summer. Salka will continue to manage the development and construction of the project until it achieves commercial operations – at which point funds managed by Castlelake will own and operate the wind farm.
E.ON Tapped For Texas Wind Farm Services
E.ON Energy Services has been contracted to provide services for Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners’ (CIP) 196.7 MW Bearkat I wind farm, located in Glasscock County, Texas.
E.ON will provide on-site construction management and project management services for the Vestas-powered wind farm, which is currently under construction. E.ON will also provide on-site supervision and management of a number of other services, including balance-of-plant monitoring.
Building the facility is Black & McDonald, an engineering, procurement and construction contractor. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
“Bearkat I is our second wind project under construction in the U.S., and it is great to have experienced players like E.ON to work with,” says Christian Skakkebæk, senior partner at CIP.
Patrick Woodson, chairman of E.ON in North America, adds, “We are offering help throughout the value chain – from energy management, asset management, construction management and full operational support. This sector continues to grow, as a multitude of international investors, financial players and midsize developers alike are entering the U.S. market.”
Firm Employs Renewables To Power Operations
North American produce company Taylor Farms is now using a combination of wind, solar and cogeneration energy systems to power the majority of its Gonzales, Calif., facility’s operations.
Combined, the systems generate 4.25 MW of energy on-site, which will be used to run the 192,000-square-foot vegetable processing plant. At times, the three systems will generate enough power to operate 100% of operations, but on average, they will offset energy usage by more than 90%, says the family-owned company, which has a total of 12 production and distribution sites in North America.
The wind turbine, installed in November 2014, is a 1 MW GE machine. Since its installation, it has produced an annual energy offset of 16%, the company notes. The 1 MW solar array, consisting of 3,578 panels, was installed in July 2016 and has an annual energy offset of 10%.
The natural-gas-powered cogeneration system, the latest addition to the Gonzales facility, was recently installed and is expected to produce an annual energy offset of 62%.
“This is a fantastic achievement for not only Taylor Farms’ Gonzales manufacturing plant, but the industry as a whole,” comments Karen Ross, secretary of California’s Department of Food and Agriculture. “The innovation, leadership and dedication Taylor Farms is delivering to their community in regards to alternative energy should lead as an example for all.”
Attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the company’s energy ecosystem was Maria Orozco, mayor of Gonzales, as well as representatives from REC Solar, Foundation Wind Power and Concentric Power.
NextEra, Westar Tout $650M Wind Investment
State and local leaders and landowners joined executives from NextEra Energy Resources and Westar Energy to celebrate the commissioning of the Kingman and Ninnescah Wind Energy Centers in Kansas, which created hundreds of construction jobs and millions of dollars in economic benefits for the region.
“Wind energy is good for Kansas, and it’s good for our economy,” says Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, addressing landowners and guests at the commissioning ceremony. “When these blades are turning in the wind, it’s just like the combines harvesting wheat from our land – we are creating value from our natural resources to the benefit of our people, and I’d like to see more projects like these.”
“These projects represent a more than $650 million investment in Kansas,” says Armando Pimentel, president and CEO of NextEra. “We are very pleased to bring these wind energy centers online to help serve the state and boost the local economy.”
As reported, an affiliate of NextEra owns and operates the Kingman and Ninnescah projects.
The Kingman and Ninnescah Wind Energy Centers feature more than 240 GE wind turbines designed to pivot to capture the prevailing wind and convert it to renewable electricity. Together, they have a generating capacity of 400 MW, capable of powering more than 100,000 homes. The energy serves customers of Westar and its wholesale partners Midwest Energy and the cities of McPherson, Chanute, Iola, Fredonia and Sabetha through energy management service agreements.
“These projects modernize and diversify Kansas’ energy supply and provide low-cost, clean energy to our customers,” says Mark Ruelle, president and CEO of Westar. “We are also pleased to make this renewable energy available to several of our wholesale customers who now have an opportunity to share in this tremendous investment in our state.”
The projects have created a significant economic boost for Kingman and Pratt Counties, creating approximately 500 jobs during the construction phase in 2016 and approximately 35 full-time jobs once the projects became operational in December. The projects will provide more than $40 million in guaranteed payments to the county governments over their projected 30-year operational life and nearly $100 million in payments to local landowners. From labor and materials to housing, health care and construction, a wide variety of local businesses have benefited from the influx of economic activity.
“Kansas, and Kingman and Pratt Counties in particular, is fortunate to have some of the best wind in the nation,” says Rep. Jack Thimesh of Spivey. “These projects are evidence of what we can do when we build strong partnerships to develop this resource, create good jobs and long-term benefits for our communities.”
Facebook Powers Ninth Data Center With Wind
Facebook has chosen to build its next data center in Papillion, Neb., and has pledged that the new facility will be supplied by 100% wind energy from Omaha Public Power District (OPPD).
As reported, the Nebraska facility will be Facebook’s ninth data center overall and sixth in the U.S., providing the infrastructure needed to help support the 1.86 billion people on Facebook monthly. Company officials expect the 970,000-square-foot Papillion campus to be online as early as 2020.
The Papillion site will serve as Facebook’s first location in Nebraska.
“Partnerships like this, with the state, local communities and utilities like OPPD, cannot be overstated when it comes to economic impact for our region,” says OPPD CEO Tim Burke. “By collaborating with one another and looking for solutions that serve the best interests of our entire community, we create tremendous value. For example, OPPD was able to offer an innovative rate solution that would provide flexibility in how companies reach their renewable energy goals. It’s an example of how we work to meet the needs of large customers – particularly those who seek more renewable energy.”
According to the announcement, construction of new wind farms in Nebraska will allow the company to power the facility solely through wind-generated electricity.
“We’re thrilled to have found a home in Nebraska and to embark on this exciting partnership,” says Tom Furlong, vice president of infrastructure at Facebook. “Everything here has been as advertised – from a committed set of community partners and strong pool of talent to the opportunity to power our facility with 100 percent renewable energy. The Cornhusker State is a great place to do business.”